The importance of economic development for cross-border territories

May 2014

The importance of economic development for cross-border territories

With the launch of a European project financed by the Europ'Act programme at a conference in Paris on 15 April, the MOT wishes to highlight the topic of cross-border economic development. The proceedings of the conference are online.

In cross-border territories, which are faced with differences that constitute both constraints and opportunities, cooperation represents a potential that is still relatively untapped by private- and public-sector players. The political and institutional developments that are under way are redefining the intervention of territorial authorities and are confirming their legitimacy in terms of local economic development, thus enabling them to address a crucial issue for their future.
The challenge for public- and private-sector players is to move from competition that is endured to a managed “co-opetition” that combines cooperation and competition. A dynamic based on the fact that we move closer to our neighbour since they provide something extra or make up for a lack of development.

Two rationales

  • On a border where two or three States with different systems meet, businesses are able to "take the best from each system”. What seems at first to be an obstacle is also an opportunity: companies can take advantage of differences by choosing the right system for their needs, or by exploiting the multicultural or multilingual potential of the territory.

  • The second rationale is that of economies of scale. Cross-border cooperation "enlarges" the territory and can thus enable it to reach critical mass in terms of facilities and public services. One of the most important benefits is the splitting of investment costs between partners in terms of infrastructure, laboratories etc., that are often very expensive in innovative sectors. These economies of scale can be applied to cross-border sectoral clusters, bringing together all of the actors concerned. Another example: the implementation of a joint marketing strategy by businesses can increase visibility and make it possible to share costs.

Two keys to success

  • Knowing the cross-border territory, knowing each other within the territory
  • Organising the governance of cross-border economic development

More info on the topic.
More info on the project.
The proceedings of the conference.

Photo: Pascaline Chombart / Lille métropole

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